It’s finally Spring and it’s really warming up here in Mandeville and I am so grateful! To ring in Spring and to prepare for summer, I’ve made the ultimate Springtime smoothie with aloe vera.
If you’re Jamaican, I bet you’re pretty skeptical right now. Aloe vera? In a drink? How can that be good? I know all those questions are going through your mind. But it is possible! All you gotta do is remove that awful bitter flavour. Before I explain how to do that (and it’s quite simple), let’s talk a bit about aloe vera.
So aloe “vera” is a succulent plant that is just one type of aloe (aloe being a species of over 500 plants) and it is widely known in Jamaica for it’s medicinal properties and its very bitter taste. People here on the island use the plant to treat cuts, burns, constipation and a few other ailments and you know what, it works better than any modern medicine I’ve ever tried. We also use it in our hair as a conditioner and on our skin since it helps keep those pesky wrinkles at bay. I personally love how super shiny and smooth it makes both my skin and hair feel! Oh and besides all that, its a great addition to any succulent collection (here’s mine).
But you must be wondering how aloe vera in a drink can help you… well its great for your digestive system, kinda like how yogurt is and its full of vitamins and nutrients. The best thing about working with aloe vera is that once you remove that bitterness, you’re left with a blank slate that you can customize based on the season and whatever is available.
So first, let’s talk about de-bittering; you wanna cut a leaf from your aloe vera plant and let it drain for a full day and all the yellow slime will drain out. Then you wanna fillet it, to do this, run your knife along both sides of the leaf, being careful not to cut through the bottom leaf. Then pull back the top leaf; it will peel back easily and with the knife or a spoon cut/scoop the jell off the bottom leaf. Wash the jell and you can cut it into pieces or not but it must go into a ziplock bag and freeze for a day, that’s what really takes the bitterness away, don’t ask me how.
On smoothie making day, all you do is add to a blender, your fruits, I used papaya for it’s refreshing yet sweet flavour, a frozen banana ’cause you can’t have a smoothie without those, a ton of mint because that just taste like spring to me, like waking up from winter and the frozen aloe vera jell of course, a pinch of turmeric powder, that’s optional some honey and some ice cold coconut water and wizz away. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Check out the recipe below for measurements and stay tuned for more spring time foods!
Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera
This refreshing smoothie taste like a field of daisies and bees buzzing around wild flowers and afternoon showers all in one.
Aloe vera jell from two leaves, frozen
1/2 papaya, sliced
1 frozen banana, sliced
2 sprigs of mint, leaves only (reserve a sprig for garnish)
1 pinch of turmeric
1 tablespoon honey (or agave syrup)
1 1/2-2 cups coconut water, cold
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour into glasses with straws and garnish with a sprig of mint.
I hope you shine today!